The Selfish Giant Festival Theatre Studio

The north wind blew and the hail rained down and the frost painted everything crisp. This was winter. On the 14th of December 2013, my nine year old brother and I attended the evening performance of "The Selfish Giant" in the Studio at the Festival Theatre. This was an adaption of Oscar Wilde's classic children's tale by production company "Wee Stories". It tells the tale of a giant too selfish to let the animals play in his garden, little does he know that keeping them out will keep the spring out too. This was a wonderful tale of selfishness and kindness aimed at the younger children in the audience. It was recommended for those aged five and over but it was mostly enjoyed by those between five and seven, a little bit of the magic was lost on the older children.

The narrator of the story, the traveller, created a real sense of audience involvement getting the audience to “play” the characters of the squirrels, rabbits and frogs in the giant’s garden from their seats. This sometimes led to a little too much information being offered by the children when the scene had been paused for dramatic effect.

The three actors played between them a huge number of characters:
• the Traveller
• the Giant
• the Spring
• the Summer
• the Autumn
• the Winter
• the hail
• the north wind
• the frost
• the eagle

This worked exceptionally well, the costume changes made it easy for the audience to see the different characters and the costumes themselves all were perfect for the characters they were being used to aid.

Another brilliant aspect of the show was how well they incorporated set changes into the story itself to stop the young audience losing focus. The set was cleverly built with portions that could be moved by the cast easily and it was artistic but very simple.

There was also a sign language translator for any deaf audience members towards the side of the stage, this hopefully made the show more accessible for a wider audience and allowed people with hearing problems to experience theatre, a media form often impossible to experience without aid.

This show is brilliant, especially for younger children who would be able to get properly involved in the magical storyline. It uses movement in the dance routines expertly acted out by every character besides the eagle, the choreography truly matching every scene. The set is simplistic but effective and everything comes together to make an engrossing, interesting play.

Eilidh McSherry